This project comprises a series of one day social and emotional wellbeing workshop targeted at indigenous community members and 'natural helpers'. The Deadly Thinking workshops are very well received and are generating much interest, support and requests from a number of communities. The workshops are raising awareness and understanding of depression, anxiety, and suicide in the context of family, community, cultural spirituality and sense of country. The workshops are also providing pathways for support and help and are identifying Indigenous community members able and willing to undertake more advanced training.
The Building Bridges, a Community Suicide Prevention initiative, is an innovative and iterative process whereby communities are provided with the support, guidance and resources needed to develop a Community Plan for mental health promotion, suicide prevention and post-suicide interventions that are unique to each community. With the support and guidance of the Centre, the Queensland communities of St George, Dalby and Tara have developed a Community Plan and Strategic Framework. Each plan is based on the development and implementation of a set of frameworks. These are based on the Living Is For Everyone (LIFE) framework, Australia’s national resource guide to prevent suicide and self-harm. The LIFE Framework supports the National Suicide Prevention Strategy which is funded by the Council of Australian Governments (COAG through the Commonwealth Department of Health and Ageing) National Action Plan on Mental Health 2006–2011. The LIFE Framework comprises six Action Areas:
1. Improving the evidence base and understanding of suicide prevention.
2. Building individual resilience and the capacity for self-help.
3. Improving community strength, resilience and capacity in suicide prevention.
4. Taking a coordinated approach to suicide prevention.
5. Providing targeted suicide prevention activities.
6. Implementing standards and quality in suicide prevention.
The ACRRMH’s Minds in Mines program is unique in that it delivers sustainable, comprehensive, integrated mental health strategies to far-sighted mining, resource and remote construction companies. Minds in Mines is designed to raise awareness, grow understanding and reduce the stigma of mental health that is so often a feature of the male dominated, “macho” mining environment. Prevention strategies are developed and interwoven into each client’s corporate culture and suite of policies and practices – from recruitment right through to personnel exit procedures.
Each program is individually designed to address the unique characteristics of:
• underground mining;
• open-cut mining;
• off-shore and on-shore resource development; and
• remote mining and resource construction.
Minds in Mines assists with the early identification and prevention of mental problems before they turn into expensive mental illnesses that require Employee Assistance Provider interventions, psychologists, psychiatrists and rehabilitation. It’s important to understand that Minds in Mines doesn’t duplicate the work of EAPs, which comes into play when things go wrong. Minds in Mines is about prevention. Minds in Mines is appropriate for all company personnel – in head offices, regional offices as well as those on remote sites.
The financial, social and health benefits of Minds in Mines to mining, resource and remote construction companies include:
• greater productivity and profitability
• improved risk identification and management
• incorporating “mental” into OH&S policies and practices
• full compliance with harmonised WHS legislation
• improved status as a preferred employer
• improved morale
• a generally healthier, resilient workforce
• higher retention rates and reduced staff turnover
• reduced absenteeism
• reduced presenteeism (the practice of coming to work despite an illness, injury or compromised mental health resulting in reduced productivity).
The Minds in Mines program comprises four stages:
• Maintenance and Review
These are outlined in the Centre’s brochure Designing a Mental Health ‘Road Map’ for the Mining and Resources Sector (see Brochures under Publications).
Minds in Mines – Products, Presentations and Performances
Creative Livelihoods has evolved from various Centre initiatives including Creative Recovery and is one in a series of exciting new ways to address the challenges faced by Aboriginal people living in rural and remote communities. The program builds and strengthens mental health and wellbeing by building livelihoods and encouraging economic independence via the creative arts.
The Centre mounts community concert events/mental health awareness and information sessions, particularly in rural communities devastated by droughts, floods and fires.
• provide respite from the exhausting and debilitating work of recovery and rebuilding
• raise awareness of and de-stigmatise mental health challenges in non-threatening, accessible and enjoyable ways
• build and enhance community linkages
• build courage and optimism through shared experience.
The Passport is a widely acclaimed, culturally contextualised pocket booklet carefully written and designed for the isolated farmer and/or agricultural worker. It includes:
• an outline of risks to mental health – particularly as they pertain to the agricultural sector
• an outline of common mental health disorders
• how to recognise symptoms and signs of these disorders in themselves, their families and friends
• a list of simple steps to take to prevent mental health problems becoming mental health illnesses
• pathways to help and support via various channels – telephone, websites etc through to tertiary clinical services.
The Centre’s initiative “Me and My Community” program develops leadership and representative capacities with regard to mental health and social wellbeing in two specific target groups – young people and women – working in the farming sector in rural and remote Queensland.
The Rural and Remote Mental Health Advisory Group (RRMHAG) is the official advisory body to the Queensland Mental Health Reform Committee for Queensland Health. It provides a collaborative information-sharing forum that contributes significantly to the mental health and wellbeing of individuals who live and/or work in rural and remote communities.